Satellites now play a key role in monitoring carbon levels in the oceans, but we are only just beginning to understand their full potential.
Our ability to predict future climate relies upon being able to monitor where our carbon emissions go. So we need to know how much stays in the atmosphere, or becomes stored in the oceans or on land. The oceans in particular have helped to slow climate change as they absorb and then store the carbon for thousands of years.
The IPCC Special Report on the Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, published last month, identified this critical role that the ocean play in regulating our climate along with the need to increase our monitoring and understanding of ocean health.
But the vast nature of the oceans, covering over 70% of the Earth’s surface, illustrates why satellites are an important component of any monitoring.
The new study, led by the University of Exeter, says that increased exploitation of existing satellites will enable us to fill “critical knowledge gaps” for monitoring our climate.
The work reports that satellites originally launched to study the wind, also have the capability to observe how rain, wind, waves, foam and temperature all combine to control the movement of heat and carbon dioxide between the ocean and the atmosphere.
Additionally, satellites launched to monitor gas emissions over the land are also able to measure carbon dioxide emissions as they disperse over the ocean.
Future satellite missions offer even greater potential for new knowledge, including the ability to study the internal circulation of the oceans. New constellations of commercial satellites, designed to monitor the weather and life on land, are also capable of helping to monitor ocean health.
“Monitoring carbon uptake by the oceans is now critical to understand our climate and for ensuring the future health of the animals that live there,” said lead author Dr Jamie Shutler, of the Centre for Geography and Environmental Science on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
“By monitoring the oceans we can gather the necessary information to help protect ecosystems at risk and motivate societal shifts towards cutting carbon emissions.”
The research team included multiple European research institutes and universities, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the European Space Agency.
The researchers call for a “robust network” that can routinely observe the oceans.
This network would need to combine data from many different satellites with information from automated instruments on ships, autonomous vehicles and floats that can routinely measure surface water carbon dioxide.
And recent computing advancements, such as Google Earth Engine, which provides free access and computing for scientific analysis of satellite datasets, could also be used.
The study suggests that an international charter that makes satellite data freely available during major disasters should be expanded to include the “long-term man-made climate disaster”, enabling commercial satellite operators to easily contribute.
Learn more: Satellites are key to monitoring ocean carbon
The Latest on: Ocean carbon
via Google News
The Latest on: Ocean carbon
- Carbon offsets can be tough to get righton October 21, 2021 at 3:27 pm
If you can't pollute less, pay someone else to do it for you. Carbon offsets sound simple but are complicated in practice.
- A New Zero-Carbon Superyacht Comes With Its Own Solar Power Gardenon October 21, 2021 at 12:56 pm
A firm has released a new concept that blends advanced sustainable technologies with state-of-the-art luxury! The designers hope it will help society.
- Will there be a greater role for the oceans at COP26?on October 21, 2021 at 8:04 am
The Covid-delayed UN climate change conference begins in Glasgow this month. How deeply will ocean issues feature in negotiations?
- Surprise! Venus Might Have Oceans of Water Trapped Inside Its Cruston October 20, 2021 at 6:38 pm
Venus could be harboring oceans of water trapped beneath its crust, in the mantle! But we might have to crack the crust open to release it.
- Ocean acidity data affirms predictions of changes to El Nino conditionson October 20, 2021 at 9:46 am
A multi-institutional research team led by Yale and the University of St. Andrews has confirmed a major finding of climate models regarding changes that may occur to Pacific Ocean currents—including ...
- Fish Poop a Big Player in Ocean Carbon Sequestrationon October 20, 2021 at 9:02 am
Tickled by sunlight, life teems at the ocean surface. Yet the influence of any given microbe, plankton, or fish there extends far beyond this upper layer. In the form of dead organisms or poop, ...
- Amazon, Ikea Commit to Zero-Carbon Shipping Fuels by 2040on October 20, 2021 at 8:05 am
Ikea, and other retailers are committing to purchasing ocean freight services powered only by zero-carbon fuels by 2040, in line with the Paris Agreement. In the joint statement on Tuesday, the ...
- Amazon's new net-zero carbon pledge is focused on the oceans, as shipping giants pursue alternative fuelson October 19, 2021 at 10:17 am
Amazon commits to zero-carbon marine shipping by 2040, but while new fuel sources like ammonia are promising, they are far from reality.
- New Understanding of the Arctic’s Carbon Cycle – How Carbon Is Transferred Between Land, Ocean, and Atmosphereon October 14, 2021 at 4:41 pm
New research from UMass Amherst shines light on poorly understood processes of how carbon dissolved in Arctic rivers affects our world. In a pair of recently published papers, Michael Rawlins, a profe ...
- The Southern Ocean's role in driving global carbon cycle stronger than expectedon October 14, 2021 at 11:08 am
The Southern Ocean's role in driving the global carbon cycle may be stronger than expected as the biological carbon pump is not "switched off" in winter as previously thought.
via Bing News